Keeping 'Alexa' in line

Our modern appliances-- are they spying on us?

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Reports are popping in from all over the country about the Amazon Echo placing accidental orders. One of our news anchors said the device’s name Monday night pertaining to a news story, and it activated someone’s amazon device near the TV and tried to place an order. 

Whenever you say the awake name “Alexa”, the device lights up to be at your service. But because it doesn’t recognize your specific voice, anyone can say “Alexa” and make her work.

Natalie Ridley is a producer for Charlotte Today here at WCNC. Monday night during our 5:30 news, anchor Rachel Brown was telling viewers about a child ordering a dollhouse through the device when suddenly Natalie’s device sprang to life.

Natalie says, “Our Alexa fired up and started ordering the dollhouse.”

To avoid the confusion and mistake orders with Alexa, you should move the device away from your TV and change the name to Echo.

Other people have said they’re kind of weirded out by someone always listening. We took your connectivity concerns to an expert who showed us how every Amazon product has a mute button on top. Turn the blue ring to red, and It won't respond. It completely mutes the device. But most people clearly don't do that.

In fact, on Amazon's Echo device, he showed us how you can go to the website. Search settings. You can delete the recordings and history.

But it gets worse because these days some people have connected these devices to everything. 

Stan Capps, an expert in connectivity, says, “It's not just information. It's now, 'Alexa turn on the stove. Alexa turn on the heater.'”

To protect your privacy, guard your network password. Don't share it. And talk to your kids about placing orders if you connect your credit card to it. 

Copyright 2016 WCNC


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